A Perfect Spy: A BBC Radio 4 Full-Cast Dramatisation

A Perfect Spy A BBC Radio Full Cast Dramatisation Magnus Pym Counsellor at the British Embassy is hosting a dinner party at his home in Vienna when he receives an unexpected telephone call that will profoundly affect his life Once the guests have g

  • Title: A Perfect Spy: A BBC Radio 4 Full-Cast Dramatisation
  • Author: John le Carré JamesFox
  • ISBN: 9781408410639
  • Page: 179
  • Format: Audio CD
  • Magnus Pym, Counsellor at the British Embassy, is hosting a dinner party at his home in Vienna when he receives an unexpected telephone call that will profoundly affect his life Once the guests have gone, Pym breaks the news to his wife, Mary his father, Rick, is dead In a state of shock, he says something Mary cannot understand After all these years, I m free MagnMagnus Pym, Counsellor at the British Embassy, is hosting a dinner party at his home in Vienna when he receives an unexpected telephone call that will profoundly affect his life Once the guests have gone, Pym breaks the news to his wife, Mary his father, Rick, is dead In a state of shock, he says something Mary cannot understand After all these years, I m free Magnus flies back to England to attend the funeral and doesn t return As Mary and MI6 spymaster Jack Brotherhood desperately try to find out his whereabouts, it soon becomes clear that Pym has been keeping secrets from both his family and his employers, the British Intelligence Service Hiding out in a remote cottage in Devon, where he goes by the name of Mr Canterbury, Magnus begins to write his memoirs retracing his rise and fall and revealing how Rick led him step by step into a double life of deception, broken promises and betrayal This recording, adapted from the John le Carr novel by Rene Basilico, was believed lost from the BBC archive, but was rediscovered after almost twenty years and restored.4 CDs 4 hrs.

    One thought on “A Perfect Spy: A BBC Radio 4 Full-Cast Dramatisation”

    1. Let me start this review with these words; this book is devastating. It is the best writing John Le Carre has ever done, and will ever do.That's not to say that it's a better spy novel than Tinker Tailor or The Spy Who Came in From the Cold; it's not. If spycraft is what you crave, it's here, but it definitely takes a back seat to everything else. In A Perfect Spy, Le Carre's writing rises easily to the level of the 20th Century's greatest authors. After the death of his father, Magnus Pym, debo [...]

    2. “Sometimes we have to do a thing in order to find out the reason for it. Sometimes our actions are questions, not answers.” ― John le Carré, A Perfect SpyRemembrances of loyalties past. In some of le Carré's novels you feel haunted by the ghosts of Conrad, Greene, Nabokov, etc. In 'The Perfect Spy', I went back and forth about whether le Carré was building this novel to be Dickensian spy novel or a Proustian spy novel.I still haven't quite figured it out. All I know is that it worked. I [...]

    3. I picked up this book since it was on a list of most influential novels according to one of my issues of Mental Floss magazine, but I just couldn't force myself to get through it. I read about 100 pages of some of the most impenetrable prose, full of confusing switches in point of view, setting, and time period before I set it aside. The army of characters that dropped in like paratroopers made it hard to keep the names straight and at some point, I stopped trying. I just never got into the stor [...]

    4. Years ago I read this and gave it 5*****. I tried to re-read it (it's included reading for our Oxford course next summer), but found it disjointed and extremely difficult to follow, with little in the way of cohesive plot. Occasional paragraphs/pages were full of tension and beautifully written but there were not enough of these. I put it aside after 142 pages.

    5. Description: Magnus Pym -- son of Rick, father of Tom, and a successful career officer of British Intelligence -- has vanished, to the dismay of his friends, enemies, and wife. Who is he? Who was he? Who owns him? Who trained him? Secrets of state are at risk. As the truth about Pym gradually emerges, the reader joins Pym's pursuers to explore the unsettling life and motives of a man who fought the wars he inherited with the only weapons he knew, and so became a perfect spy.A Perfect Spy 1987 BB [...]

    6. This was a brilliant story. At first I wasn't going to give it any stars because it seemed more like a stream of consciousness story and not a novel as we know it. But as I got into the story and its flow, I got sucked in. And this is a stand alone story. It has nothing to do with Smiley and The Circus. So if you have never read a LeCarre story before, this is a good introduction to his writing style.

    7. I got through half-way in this book and had to drop it. What did it for me were the long narratives of flashbacks into the main character's past which I suppose were meant to unveil gradually to the reader who the main character really was and the ultimate motives behind his actions. They were quite murky and tedious and I didn't have the patience to really delve into them. I my opinion they detracted from the clarity and fluidity that should be salient traits of any good prose (from the Latin w [...]

    8. I recently found a review of this book ( here ) that notes that A Perfect Spy is a kind of what-if autobiographical account of John LeCarre himself (fictionalized, obviously). Whether this is or is not the case, this is one of the best novels I've read this year. Magnus Pym, intelligence agent for the British, has gone to London after the news of his father Rick's death. He is supposed to return to Vienna, where he and his wife Mary are currently stationed, but instead he sends his luggage on ho [...]

    9. Philip Roth, himself, claims on the book's cover that it is "the best English novel since the war". I find that hard to believe, but I can understand why Roth would like it. It is structurally sound and Magnus Pym, the perfect spy, is a memorable character. Personally, though, I wasn't really impressed. It is a long book (700pages), jumping back and forth in time, lots of characters and a narrator who, somewhat schizophrenically, never refers to himself using the first-person singular pronoun. W [...]

    10. Le Carre does Dickensbut he's not Dickens. There are two intertwined narratives in the book, one describing the main character's background and childhood (which, as has been noted, shares many details with the author's own childhood), the other describing his contemporary dilemma as a spy on the run. The contemporary man-hunt stuff is fun, thrilling, suspenseful; it would have made a good spy novel in itself with a little more development. The sections dealing with the character's childhood are [...]

    11. Hmmm. Will have to think about this. Since I knew the ending and the book is long, an element of disaffection. Very rich in character, and in description literature, not genre, to be sure (as Philip Roth had it).

    12. Originally published on my blog here in August 2001.One of le Carré's non-Smiley novels, A Perfect Spy is far more about the psychological pressures which create a secret agent than about the mechanics of spying itself. It is part of le Carré's move away from writing genre thrillers that really began with Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.Magnus Pym is quite a senior operational officer, who has been running networks of British spies in Czechoslovakia for many years. After the death of his father R [...]

    13. From BBC Radio 4:1/3. 'Love is whatever you can still betray. Betrayal can only happen if you love.' So says Magnus Pym, the spy of the title; and he has betrayed a lot in his life - countries, friends and lovers. When Magnus disappears after his father's funeral MI6 launches an urgent manhunt to prevent his defection. Dramatised by Robert Forrest.2/3. When Magnus Pym disappears after his father's funeral MI6 launches an urgent manhunt to prevent his defection. But Pym is on a search of his own [...]

    14. I found this novel formidable. As far as I know, the author wrote it based on Kim Philby's life who later defected to the then USSR as a senior citizen there till his death. The title also reminds me of 'A Perfect Crime' I read in an anthology, a book I borrowed from the College of Education Library, BKK.

    15. There are novels which can only be described by a single word: epic. John le Carre's A Perfect Spy, published originally in 1986, is one of those novels to be certain. It is a tale that stretches right across half the twentieth century in the form of the life of Magnus Pym, the perfect spy of the novel's title. The novel is also, in fine le Carre tradition, a fine cross between the spy thriller and a human drama and is all the better for it. The story revolves around the life and times of Britis [...]

    16. The Sunday Times reviewer calls this 'a perfect work of fiction' and le Carre's masterpiece. I can't disagree. This is a fantastic read - a real page turner, intelligently written and often very funny. I'm a fan of JleC's anyway but I'm now in awe of his artistry and expertise in reeling in and hooking his readers. It's not often these days that I struggle to put a book down. My only regret is that I've finished it and will find it a hard act to follow for the depth of the main characters, for i [...]

    17. The first hundred or so pages of A Perfect Spy seem designed to disorient: after a charming opening where Magnus Pym descends upon a quiet English shore town for what appears to be some much-needed R&R ("Hello Mr. Canterbury," the woman greets him upon opening the door, catching the alert reader off guard and perhaps already sounding an alarm in the reader's mind), we cut to Vienna, where Pym's wife apparently doesn't know where her husband is, and over the pages that follow it becomes clear [...]

    18. A strange hybrid. The sections of the book concerning Pym's disappearance and the effect it has on his family and colleagues are good solid stuff. Unfortunately too much of the book is taken up with Pym's terribly over-written autobiography, that just goes on and on and on and on and on and on. Excruciating.

    19. The best John le Carre, the making of a perfect spy-- a boy who grows up with a conman father, who wants something to believe in, but also, has all the skills necessary. Brilliant beyond belief.

    20. The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, might be his best 'spy' novel, but "A Perfect Spy" is hands down his best work. It is a masterpiece, that contains a sophisticated plot with constant twists and reversals adeptly executed, but will cause those of a malnourished attention span to quit the novel or give it a poor review with an even poorer explanation. If you were awake at the wheel, by the third chapter its obvious, that what we are reading is heavily autobiographical. Its Autobiographical very [...]

    21. This story centres on a father, Rick, and son, Magnus, relationship and its overall effects on the son on his chosen path in life. Rick Pym is a con man, a very convincing con man with able lieutenants in Syd, Perce, Muspole, and Cudlove, together they con everyone about everything imaginable taking Liberal politicians, the clergy, educational establishment right up to the grandest hotels in the land, both at home and abroad. There are women, girls, lovelies they are called all through the story [...]

    22. This book is almost exactly what everyone says it is, one of the best novels to be written about duplicity and betrayal dressed up like a somewhat typical spy story. Like much work by le Carre, there are Soviets and Czechs and double and triple agents and jilted lovers and the usual panoply of genre characters, but weaving through the whole is a bildungsroman with a remarkable synchronicity to le Carre's (David Cornwell's) own life. The main character is Magnus Pym, son of a notorious con artist [...]

    23. This is one of those books I thought I had read. I certainly know that I had a copy of it which ended up going to charity and recently when I watched the interview Mark Lawson did with Le Carre I found another copy, being intrigued about the story mirroring the authors own life. The book did not disappoint and whilst it remains fundamentally a tale of spying and betrayal it is much more. Even reading the classic Smiley trilogy you know as well as espionage that the books are about much more; a m [...]

    24. John Le Carre is known for writing spy novels but in fact A Perfect Spy could be viewed as an anti-spy novel. There are no villains, no plots for world domination, no car chases or explosions. Enemies are imagined, antipathies flourish within organizations and the truest friendship in the novel crosses the East-West line.A Perfect Spy follows the life of British master intelligence agent Magnus Richard Pym. As the book begins, Magnus has made himself disappear. Both his colleagues and his advers [...]

    25. After going through a half hundred pages of A Perfect Spy, it was rather obvious that this was something different from other titles of the author. This is the story of a spy, the spycraft is there, but is also intertwined with other elements that enrich the story. The narrative may be foggy, complex, puzzling, and highly retrospective, which altogether makes it hard to advance at times - as if le Carré is attesting your worthiness of proceeding and be highly rewarded ahead. It may well be le C [...]

    26. I'm disappointed. I spent three weeks stumbling through the dialogue of this tome before I made a most sensible personal decision to give it up. Simply one of the most frustrating reads I have ever attempted. Prose that rambled on, page after page, leading no where. For my two cents, A Perfect Spy ranks comfortably with William Faulkner's works; another brilliant writer I wasn't able to fathom. Hey, John le Carre, is this a spy novel? I love the genre the much as the next guy, but for Christ's s [...]

    27. I should say, I just reread this book. As I do every so often with the brilliant novels of John Le Carre, aka David Cornwell, former British intelligence analyst and god-knows-what-he-can't-say. I reread them because, genre aside, he's such a masterful stylist of the English language.The book's metaphors (shared with his other works) are also just right. The spy as "close observer" is the reader--as the very same. The spy as double-agent, as betrayer, is the inverter of love, the man in the mirr [...]

    28. Misnomer. Epic boring. Dull, drab and unnecessarily prolonged and wordy and descriptive and I wanted one word to describe this so called "autobiographical" epic novel. If its to be autobiographical, at least it should have been mentioned, I'd have given it a skip. But I really can write a book about how Magnum Pym's son would cry and curse his father trying the jumbled up, incomprehensibly dense and wordy details about his relationship with his father.When you have read about the book, and stil [...]

    29. I've read three other novels by LeCarre' and enjoyed them all but this was the best. More of a fictional memoir than a spy story in which the protagonist tries to explain his life to his son, wife and mentor. Although a great book, it can be hard reading at times especially at the beginning when the time frame and view point can change from paragraph to paragraph.

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